Watermelon is a summer, sweet berry that is enjoyed by both children and adults. Today, it is cultivated not only in the open field, but also in greenhouse conditions. The success of the event directly depends on such factors as the correct choice and preparation of soil and seed, as well as the timely planting of plants in the ground.
Selection and preparation of a greenhouse for watermelons
Before you start growing watermelons indoors, you need to build a protective structure, namely a greenhouse or greenhouse. The size of the site and the future structure will depend only on the personal preferences and capabilities of the gardener. Since watermelon cultivation requires large areas, the size of the greenhouse should be appropriate, at least 2 m wide and 5 m long.
For the cultivation of watermelons, a large greenhouse is needed, which is due to the peculiarities of the culture
For watermelons, as well as for cucumbers, a trellis is needed. With the help of this structure, the plants are tied up. For this, the height of the greenhouse should be about 2 m, which will create optimal conditions for the growth and development of the culture. In this case, the plants will not experience any growth restrictions. To choose a structure for planting and growing a watermelon, first you need to consider the characteristics of such structures:
- A greenhouse under a film is the simplest and cheapest option. Its disadvantage is that it is not designed for the installation of additional heating, as a result of which it will not be possible to control the temperature inside. The greenhouse can be used for planting watermelons, but only in warm weather, that is, at least in May.
- Glass greenhouse. Such a structure will be quite heavy, therefore, for its construction, the construction of a foundation will be required. At the same time, if a structure of this type is nevertheless built, then it will be characterized by reliability and a long service life. In addition, it will be possible to install a heating system in it.
- A polycarbonate greenhouse is considered the most preferred option. The only drawback is the cost of the material. Such a structure is easily erected, rather durable, and allows the installation of additional heating. You can plant watermelon seedlings already in April.
One of the best structures for growing watermelons indoors is a polycarbonate greenhouse.
However, the choice of a greenhouse structure and its subsequent construction is not the only thing that should be taken care of. The structure must also be prepared for planting plants, equipped with everything you need:
- The room is equipped with a heating source. A gas, solid fuel or electric boiler can be used as such equipment. It is possible to build a furnace, but this design introduces certain inconveniences, since the temperature must be constantly monitored. In the case of a boiler, you will need to lay pipes under the ground for water, which will heat the ground.
- To provide watermelons with a day of light of the required duration (about 10 hours), you will need to install additional lighting sources in the form of fluorescent lamps.
- Watermelons and other melons and gourds are susceptible to fungal diseases. This indicates the need to process the frame and greenhouse material with a solution of copper sulfate (100 g per 10 l of water).
If the greenhouse structure is not new, then before planting the watermelon, it is checked for damage, and if they are found, they are repaired. The fact is that melons and gourds are quite sensitive to low temperatures and when cold air enters the greenhouse, young plants can simply die.
Greenhouse preparation for the new season involves washing and processing with copper sulfate or similar means.
Selection and preparation of soil for watermelon
One of the important conditions for the successful cultivation of watermelons both in the open field and in greenhouse conditions is properly prepared soil. The ideal option would be to start preparing in the fall. The soil is fertilized by introducing rotted manure for digging (20 kg per 1 m²), grass is also used, for example, green manure.
Green manure crops or green manures are plants that are grown for the purpose of subsequent embedding in the soil, which allows improving the structure of the soil, enriching it with microelements and nitrogen.
In addition to organic fertilizers, you will need to add river sand (1 bucket per 1 m²), as well as mineral components such as nitrophoska and superphosphate, 10 g each, based on the same raincoat. In general, watermelons need light, sandy soils, in which stagnant water is excluded.
Video: preparing the soil for the new season
When preparing the soil for melon, do not forget about such an important indicator as acidity. For a watermelon, it should be in the pH range of 6-7. You can determine these values using a special device or probe strips. If the indicator deviates significantly from the norm, then for deoxidation it is necessary to add, for example, lime at the rate of 0.7 kg per 1 m². If the soil, on the contrary, is alkaline, then to increase the acidity by 1 ph, add 3 kg of manure or 9 kg of compost per 1 m².
Selection and preparation of planting material
When choosing a watermelon variety for greenhouse cultivation, preference should be given to those varieties for which small fruits are characteristic. An important role in the choice of planting material is played by the region in which the seed was produced. You need to purchase those seeds that are adapted to your climatic conditions.
When choosing a variety for growing indoors, preference should be given to varieties with a short ripening period.
Paying attention to the timing of the ripening of watermelon, it is worth noting that for indoor ground it is better to choose early ripening varieties, which will guarantee the normal ripening of the crop. Long-ripening varieties can leave you with nothing. Such watermelons can be safely cultivated only in the southern regions. From early maturing varieties, the following can be recommended: Ogonyok, Sibiryak, Cinderella, Gift to the North F1, Krimstar F1, Siberian Lights, Pink Champagne F1.
In addition to choosing seeds, they also need to be properly prepared for planting. First of all, the seeds must be discarded. To do this, they are poured into a container with water and those seeds that have surfaced are considered unsuitable for planting. Then the planting material is treated in a weak solution of potassium permanganate for 10 minutes, which is required for disinfection.
Disinfection of planting material in potassium permanganate allows you to get rid of bacteria and fungal spores on the surface of the seeds
It should be borne in mind that watermelon seeds have poor germination. This indicates the need to take measures to accelerate germination. To improve germination, the seeds are preheated at a temperature of + 55˚C for three hours or placed in a sunny place for a week. As a preparatory measure, watermelon seeds are also soaked in water at room temperature for a day. You can judge that the seeds are ready for germination by their appearance - if swelling and increase in size is noticeable, it's time to start germination.
To improve germination, watermelon seeds are pre-soaked in nutrient solution or water
Seeds can be germinated either simply in a damp cloth bag or with preliminary treatment with growth stimulants and fertilizers (Zircon, Epin, Humic preparations). Then the grains are washed in water, wrapped in a moistened gauze cloth and placed in a warm place, periodically controlling and, if necessary, moistening the cloth, and also checking the seeds for hatching. In addition to all the actions, the seeds can be covered with a film, which will create favorable conditions for germination.
To make the seeds germinate faster, they are wrapped in a damp gauze cloth and placed in a warm place.
Features of planting a watermelon in closed ground
Growing a watermelon in a greenhouse won't be a hassle if properly planted and cared for.
What you can and cannot plant next to watermelons
With the small size of the site and the impossibility of installing several greenhouses, a completely logical question arises - what can be planted with watermelons? First of all, you can plant another melon crop - melon. It is quite successfully possible to grow watermelons with tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants.
Indoors, watermelons can be grown with eggplants, tomatoes, melons, bell peppers
Do not grow moisture-loving crops with watermelons. Due to high humidity and drafts, melons are exposed to various fungal diseases.
If we consider the same cucumbers as an example, then these plants love moisture and require regular ventilation of the greenhouse. This does not mean that they cannot be planted with watermelons. It is possible, but for a sweet berry, you will have to allocate a drier and more windless place, and provide the necessary watering and ventilation for the cucumbers. Until the time comes to plant the watermelon in the greenhouse, you can grow a crop of greens or radishes. These plants will not do any harm.
Video: planting watermelons in a greenhouse with tomatoes
When is the best time to plant
Watermelon belongs to heat-loving crops and the cold when growing it is unacceptable. Therefore, you should not rush to plant it in the greenhouse, at least until the threat of frost has passed. If the structure is equipped with a heating source, then there is no need to be afraid of the cold. As for the timing, in the central regions you can start planting from the second week of May, in the southern regions - towards the end of the month. In the south, planting culture can be done at the end of April.
The times indicated are approximate as weather conditions may vary from year to year. If the spring is long, then the planting time is increased by a week, in early spring, on the contrary, it is reduced. It should be noted that before planting watermelons, the soil must warm up to at least + 14˚С. Otherwise, the seeds may not sprout or germination will slow down.
There are several ways to plant watermelons, but a one-liner is the best option. For this, a comb (50 cm wide and 20 cm high) is poured on beds 90 cm wide and 20 cm high. When planting plants in one row, a distance of 40-50 cm is left between the holes. Such a planting scheme is best suited for a small greenhouse.
A one-line watermelon planting scheme would be the best option for a small greenhouse.
With a two-line planting, the plants are planted in a checkerboard pattern, for which two rows are organized at a distance of 50 cm from each other and 70 cm between the plants themselves.
Indoors, watermelons are most often planted in a two-line method.
Indoors, watermelons are most often planted in a two-line pattern.
How to plant watermelon seedlings in a greenhouse
They start planting seedlings after the establishment of warm weather, which directly depends on the region. In the daytime, the temperature indicator should not fall below + 25˚С, at night - below + 5˚С. To ensure rapid heating of the soil, the beds can be spilled with hot water and covered with a black film. The next day, you can start disembarking. Small holes are made under the seedlings, which are spilled with warm water heated in the sun.
Watermelon seedlings are planted in the greenhouse after warm weather is established
2 plants are placed in one hole, placing the seedling lump 1 cm above ground level, which will exclude decay of the plants. Seedlings are carefully removed from the planting container, avoiding damage to the roots and stems. Planting is convenient if the watermelons were grown in peat pots. As the bushes develop, the lashes are sent in different directions.
Video: planting watermelon seedlings indoors
Greenhouse watermelon care
Watermelon is a weaving plant, so it must be tied up in the greenhouse. The stalk of a watermelon, unlike a cucumber, cannot independently cling to a rope that goes up. In this case, you will need to inspect the beds every day and twine the shoots of plants as they develop around the trellis. It is also worth considering that in a closed ground, a watermelon is formed, as a rule, in one stem, since the fruits are tied on the main shoot, and the lateral processes must be removed. No more than four fruits are left on the main lash, which depends on the region of cultivation and the type of watermelon. The main stem is pinched, for which 5 leaves recede from the upper fruit.
Indoors, a watermelon is mainly formed into one stem, i.e. when fruits are formed only on the main lash
Watermelons bloom about 60 days after planting in the ground. Male flowers appear first, and then female flowers. One of the important points during this period is the pollination procedure, which is recommended to be carried out manually. To do this, a male flower is plucked and leaned against a female one. The latter initially has a small fruit. With successful pollination, the ovary will begin to develop rapidly, otherwise the flower will stretch.
When the fruits reach the size of a plum, 7 leaves recede from each of them and cut off the tops of the stems. When the watermelons are enlarged to the size of a small apple, they are placed in mesh bags and tied to a trellis. If the fruits are not tied up in a timely manner, they will simply cut off the whips under their own weight. Since the appearance of new lateral shoots delays the ripening of the crop, these shoots are constantly plucked out. In addition, you need to remove weeds in a timely manner, which indicates the need to maintain cleanliness in the greenhouse.
To avoid breaking off the watermelon lashes, the fruits must be placed in mesh bags and tied to a trellis
Despite the prevailing opinion among gardeners that watermelon loves watering, this culture is quite drought tolerant. This suggests that you need to irrigate the soil very carefully. Most of all, the plant needs moisture before the flowering period, during the formation and at the beginning of the development of the ovaries. For irrigation, use warm water, spending up to 7 liters per 1 bush.
Watering is stopped when the fruit reaches the size of the competitive variety.
In addition to irrigation, attention is paid to fertilizing. To prepare the nutrient solution, mix 1 tbsp. l. azophoska and superphosphate, as well as 1 tsp of potassium sulfate and diluted in 10 water, after which fertilizer is applied to the root zone of plants, after moistening the soil. Throughout the entire growing period, 4 dressings are carried out. In addition, they constantly pay attention to the appearance and condition of plants, so that in case of detection of pests or the development of diseases, it is possible to react in a timely manner.
Video: care and formation of watermelons in the greenhouse
Since watermelon is a southern crop, not every gardener in the middle lane or northern regions decides to plant it on his site. However, if there is a greenhouse, this is not so difficult to do. The main thing is to properly prepare the covering structure and seed, plant in a timely manner and provide appropriate care.
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Thanks to the greenhouse cultivation of melons and gourds, large watermelons can be obtained in any region with an unstable or cold climate. In greenhouses, ideal soil and air humidity, illumination, and temperature are created.Polycarbonate structures allow hanging fruit to grow.
Greenhouse cultivation in the country allows you to get a high-quality and safe harvest. The main advantages of this method:
- tender seedlings grow under the covering material in a safe environment
- the culture does not suffer from temperature drops, cold nights and winds
- watermelons are large, juicy, sweet, not watery
- fruit rotting is excluded
Artificially created conditions make it possible to plant and harvest watermelons 2-3 weeks earlier than in open ground.
Choosing a variety for growing a watermelon in a greenhouse
Among the variety of varieties offered by modern breeding, only those that have the shortest ripening period and fruits small in weight, up to 2-3 kg, are suitable for greenhouse cultivation. It can be familiar to many "Ogonyok", "Cinderella", "Siberian", "Ultra early". From germination to harvest, they have about 80 days and with a low weight of the berry, high taste is noted. It is not worthwhile to reckon with varieties with a longer growing season, just for the reason that you can never wait for the harvest.
Watermelons in a polycarbonate greenhouse: planting and care
Melons and gourds are classified as unpretentious. It is not difficult to grow a juicy watermelon in the Krasnodar Territory or Crimea. The northern regions of our country are quite another matter. In Siberia, the Urals, the Murmansk region and central Russia, watermelons are grown in polycarbonate greenhouses.
Before starting sowing work, you need to choose the right variety. At the same time, summer residents with experience recommend paying attention to the quality of the seed. Before planting watermelon seeds, it is worth carrying out such activities, namely:
- Examine the planting material for damage, black dots, dents on it.
- At the next stage, empty seeds are rejected. To do this, prepare salt water: add 2 tablespoons of salt to 1 liter of water, stir. Then the seeds are poured and mixed. The solution is left for 20-30 minutes. Heavy seeds will certainly sink to the bottom, and light and unsuitable for planting will float up. They are collected and thrown away.
- The rejected seed is soaked in warm water, the temperature of which is about +50 degrees. The soaking period is about 10-15 minutes.
- Seed dressing in a growth promoter helps to accelerate seed germination, increase yields, and is used to stimulate the growth of the entire plant. For etching, you can use the drug "Epin" or any other growth stimulant.
- Disinfection of seeds is a mandatory procedure before sowing. For disinfection, a slightly pink solution of potassium permanganate is used, in which the seeds are placed for 15-20 minutes. Recently, gardeners often use the drug "Fitosporin", which protects the plant from most diseases and is absolutely safe.
- After carrying out all the above procedures, the planting material is left in a damp cloth in a warm place for germination. Sprouts usually appear in 4-5 days. At this stage, it is recommended to place the sprouted seeds in a cool place, for example, in the vegetable storage of the refrigerator. This will harden the seeds and the plant will adapt to adverse conditions.
Now you can start planting seeds for seedlings. To do this, use a loose, well-fertilized soil with organic matter. They are filled with seedling boxes or disposable cups. It is better to give preference to individual cups, because in this way it will be possible to avoid picking. Each seed is buried 1 cm and the soil is moistened with a spray bottle. It remains to cover the plantings with transparent film and send it to a sunny windowsill.
If you have a sandy loamy neutral alkaline soil in your country house and there is an open place warmed by the sun, then with proper care, early ripening varieties can mature without a greenhouse. In the southern regions of the country, in May-June, you can sow seeds directly into the ground to a depth of about 8 cm. 5-6 seeds are sown on one meter of the plot, since they will not all sprout, it should not be too crowded. After sowing the seeds, they are watered with warm water. A week later, shoots should appear, and after the appearance of the fifth leaf, they are spudded.
In the middle lane, seedlings of early ripening varieties are planted on the site. Moreover, before planting on the site, it is tempered - the temperature in the room (if possible) is lowered to 16-17 degrees during the day, and to 13-14 at night. If the temperature is not regulated, then you can simply take it outside.
Planted in holes at least 14 cm in size at a distance of 70 cm from each other and 1 m between the rows. The planting should be such that the root collar remains 1-2 cm above the ground.
The "Suga baby" variety ripens well in the open field, but it is better to grow it not from seeds, but by seedlings. Proper care of a watermelon in a garden bed consists in rare abundant watering, obligatory loosening of the soil after watering or rain, and top dressing. It is advisable to straighten the lashes so that they do not interfere with each other, to tear off the growth point after 6-7 ovaries. You need to fertilize plants at the same frequency and in the same way as in a greenhouse. If the greenhouse fruits are tied up, and they are singing in the air, then in the garden the watermelon lies on the ground - you need to make sure that it does not rot, and even so that the sun warms it from all sides.
Watermelons suffer from pests and diseases. Wireworms, ants, melon aphids, sprout flies, scoops - everyone wants to profit from a watermelon. And there are also diseases: powdery mildew, broomrape. For these misfortunes, plants are treated with chemicals (malofos, phosphamide). Careful inspection and wood ash with laundry soap often help to avoid troubles.
If you want to grow a seedless watermelon, you will have to do it only in a greenhouse way. Cultivars "Queen of Hearts", "King of Hearts", "Jack of Hearts" mature in about 85 days, they love well-drained sandy-clay soils and a lot of sun. Their seeds germinate at temperatures not lower than 25 degrees.
Some hobby gardeners grow vegetables in barrels. Similarly, a watermelon can be grown in an iron barrel. If you put fertilizer in a barrel and arrange a good drainage layer, and drill the bottom in several places, then you can try to settle a watermelon there. Since the soil in the iron barrel warms up well, he might like it. You just need to remember that the soil dries faster in the barrel, that it is not advisable to water the greens of the watermelon, and the fruits will have to be tied up, as in a greenhouse.